A balanced budget, bills paid, and dollars saved—there’s no doubt that conquering money management can often feel like a full-time job. It’s easy to feel like you need more time and extra hands in order to stay on top of all of the aspects of your financial health, but take a deep breath! There’s no need to feel stressed or overwhelmed.
Thanks to technology, you no longer need to rely solely on old school methods for staying on top of finances. That’s right, now you can have better money management right at your fingertips. From saving more to splitting expenses, you can achieve your finance goals with the help of your smartphone.
Mint is arguably the most well known budgeting app—and for good reason. Money management beginners and experts alike should give it a test drive. You will need to set aside some time to set up your profile and inputting the entirety of your bank account information can be a little intimidating. Admittedly, I waited for months before completing my profile because I was worried about the safety of my personal information. But years later my information remains secure thanks to Mint’s triple-level protection.
My favorite Mint feature is the account overview page, which allows you to look at all of your financial information (from loans to checking accounts) on a single screen. Mint also allows you to create detailed budgets and tracks your spending by linking to credit cards and bank accounts. If you can’t decide if you should splurge on those fantastic (yet slightly overpriced) booties, checking your clothing allowance on Mint is just a click away.
2. You Need a Budget
As you might have guessed, You Need a Budget is a budgeting app. Similarly to Mint, YNAB tracks spending across all categories and allows you to discover exactly where all your money goes. YNAB takes your financial goals to the next level through an intensive nine-day course and variety of ongoing online classes. Their methodology is based around YNAB’s Four Rules:
1. Give every dollar a job
2. Save for a rainy day
3. Roll with the punches
4. Live on last month’s income
At a one time cost of $60, YNAB is by far the most expensive app on the list. But sometimes shelling out cash is the push you need to stick with goals—much like your monthly membership bill is motivation to hit the gym. Just remember, in return you’re saving more and sticking to a budget.
3. Mint Bills
Not too long ago, I found myself constantly forgetting to pay one bill or another, so I was ecstatic when Mint.com released Mint Bills. While loading all of your account into Mint Bills is a bit of a hassle (unfortunately, the app can’t pull your profile from Mint), it is definitely worth it. It keeps all of my bills in one place and sends email alerts when a bill is due soon. By linking your checking account, you can even pay all your bills through the app. I haven’t missed a single bill since signing up, which I think is a true testament to the value of the service!
If you have been toying with the idea of investing, Acorns is a great way to start. This app invests the spare change from every purchase you make into a low cost exchange traded fund (ETF). So, if you buy a latte for $2.50, Acorns will invest $0.50. Don’t worry though, Acorns allows you to choose your risk tolerance from conservative to aggressive. Plus, easy-to-read charts explain expected returns and ideal portfolio mixes, so it’s pretty much all you need to turn spare change into a great lesson about investing. Even better? At $1 per month, Acorns’ fee is less expensive than most broker fees.
If you struggle with saving money, Digit is the app for you. Every few days Digit transfers small amounts of money into a savings account (typically between $5-$50 a week). Once you connect your bank account, Digit will analyze your spending habits and then aim to transfer extra cash you won’t miss. Because it focuses on saving small amounts of money, I recommend using Digit to supplement your regular savings plan. Use your Digit funds to pay down the principle on your student loans or mortgage. You’ll be surprised how paying a little more toward your principle every month makes hefty loans feel more manageable!
Splitting expenses with travel buddies and roommates is never as easy as it should be. Someone always ends up paying too much and others feel guilty about paying too little. That’s where TriCount can help. TriCount is incredibly simple: It allows you to track what each person pays, as well as who owes money.
I took TriCount on a test run during a recent road trip and it couldn’t have been easier! I was able to track every expense (from gas to hotel rooms) and also keep track of payments. At the end of the trip, I shared our tracker—and the details on what everyone owed. Admittedly you could track all of this information with a paper and pen, but TriCount ensures you won’t lose data and does all of the calculations for you. This app is also great for sharing expenses with a roommate, especially if you are the one who always ends up buying the toilet paper.
We all know that money management can take some serious attention, consideration, and hard work. But thanks to technology, you can take some of that financial stress off your plate! Give a few of these apps a try and prepare for financial peace of mind.